Dave Mason at Tarrytown Music Hall

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Last night was our eighth concert at Tarrytown Music Hall, and our third Dave Mason show (first one at the Hall). I covered the previous shows extensively here and here.

To summarize the things that were the same: Dave Mason is beyond awesome. His voice is still amazing, and his fingers move across the guitar like butter. The old songs are as magical today as they were then. The news songs (he recently released a new CD called 26 Letters ~ 12 Notes) are wonderful as well, showing that he hasn’t lost a step in all these years.

DaveMason

Dave Mason

The band (each and every member) is fantastic.

That said, there were a number of differences last night, some even notable. 🙂

Two band members who toured with Dave last year, and were at both of the shows we attended, have been replaced. I tried (reasonably hard, but hardly exhaustive) and I couldn’t find any articles explaining their departure. The band page has scrubbed their existence.

The links to their bios from my previous posts still work, but they point to the new person playing that instrument. Strange. In fact, now that I looked, one of the links that worked before was to a name of someone that was already gone from the band. In other words, they replace pictures and bios on the site, but keep the old links…

Anthony (Tony) Patler replaced Bill Mason on keyboards and vocals. We both loved Bill Mason’s singing and playing, so I’m sad (for him) to see him gone (unless it was his choice to move on). Tony was incredible last night, both on the keyboards and on vocals, so the band didn’t lose any magic in swapping him in.

Johnne Sambataro and Tony Patler

Johnne Sambataro and Tony Patler

Gerald Johnson replaced Alex Drizos on bass. Alex didn’t sing, but Gerald does, on a few numbers. Gerald used to tour with Dave back in the 70’s, so he’s no stranger to the music. If you read my past posts, you know that I think very highly of Alex on the bass.

Gerald Johnson

Gerald Johnson

Like with Bill Mason above, I can’t find a mention of why Alex is no longer with the band. Like with Tony above, Gerald is absolutely incredible, in fact, better than Alex (in my opinion), so the band lost nothing here either (though fans of Alex certainly have…).

Johnne Sambataro was as incredible as he’s been at the previous shows. He’s a crowd favorite, rightfully so!

Alvino Bennett was again amazing. Last night was a treat for me personally, as in both previous shows, I had very restricted views of Alvino, and I’m a drum nut. Last night, he and Tony were on an elevated platform behind Dave, Johnne and Gerald, so Alvino and his drum set were in full view. The man has guns for biceps!

Alvino Bennett

Alvino Bennett

Last night posed a few challenges for Alvino. He broke three separate drums (I assume the skins) during the performance. Dave kidded that Alvino doesn’t know his own strength!

In one number, I noticed him unscrewing a snare drum and handing it to a stage hand, while the song continued. He never caused a disruption, using his bass foot pedal, and occasionally his right hand to keep the beat, while repairing his drum in real time! Unbelievable!

As with the previous shows, Alvino didn’t take any solos, but was solid as a rock. He’s a master drummer.

The one other major difference last night was the venue. If you read my post yesterday (which I’m not linking to because it’s way off topic for this post), then you’ll find what I’m about to say ironic. 😉

Tarrytown Music Hall is a wonderful old theater. Even though the seats are ancient, they are extremely comfortable. We were in the seventh row and had a wonderful line of sight to the entire band. The sound system was excellent last night, and all of the instruments and mics were set at the appropriate levels relative to each other.

Given that we were facing the stage (as opposed to BB King, where you generally have to contort a bit because you’re at a dinner table), the entire experience was as excellent as we could have hoped for.

Dave Mason was on stage for 95 minutes, including his signature encore of Feelin’ Allright.

Opening for Dave Mason last night was the TJay Trio. TJay is good guitarist. One thing that he does particularly well is seamlessly switch between lead and rhythm playing. That’s good, because he’s the only one playing each style.

TJay

TJay

His singing is pleasant enough, and he certainly hits every note, but I didn’t find his voice that interesting, and it was nearly impossible to catch any three words in a row (which was not a problem when Dave Mason was at the mic).

Correction: Nick Soto played the bass, filling in for regular TJay Trio bassist Mick Houser. Afterward, Nick sat across the aisle from Lois for the Dave Mason set. He’s extremely good. I thoroughly enjoyed his play throughout their set!

Nick is constantly moving on the stage (he has tons of energy), and Lois was unable to get a single shot of him that was in focus. Sorry Nick, this was the best of a bunch of bad ones…

Nick Soto

Nick Soto

Correction: Bryan Rinaldi played the drums, filling in for normal TJay Trio drummer Rob Gueli. Nothing flashy, but very solid throughout the set.

Bryan Rinaldi

Bryan Rinaldi

They played a nice mix of rock, blues and jazz and received enthusiastic applause from the crowd after each number. They were on stage for 40 minutes, and warmed up the crowd nicely for Dave. They were also well-matched genre-wise to be an opening act for Dave.

One footnote regarding last night in relation to the night before. There is little doubt that the crowd last night was as in love with Dave Mason as the crowd the night before was in love with Yonder Mountain String Band. And yet, nearly everyone sat in their seats all night, until the encore (I’m not counting the standing ovations).

This isn’t a mark of their age, lack of energy, or lack of love of the artist. It’s a mark of their respect for their neighbors, who came to see the same show, with certain expectations. It was a thing of beauty to see the one woman who was dancing at her seat for 1/2 a song, finally realize that no one else stood up to follow her lead, and she quietly sat down with no one having to say anything to her. 🙂

In order to avoid the typical parking problems in Tarrytown before a show at the Hall, on both Friday and Saturday nights, we came to town 30 minutes early, parked four or five blocks away, and walked to Main Street Sweets for some Ice Cream.

On Friday, it was our first time ever at Main Street Sweets (I read some excellent reviews online of their home-made Ice Cream). Obviously, it was good enough to schedule our return for the next night. It’s a block and a half down Main Street from Tarrytown Music Hall, so it’s easy to relax eating some Ice Cream, and time it to walk into the Hall whenever you like.